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    Per Diem: Caroline McKay

    Per Diem is a series that profiles interesting people's everyday jewelry and the stories behind it. Caroline McKay is the Founder of Caro., a boutique creative agency with a mission to collaborate with founders to craft their brand story, get it in front of the right people, and make it stick. She is also a Co-Founder of RAYU, an artisan-made accessories line, and the Owner of NightFox A-Frame.

    “As a child we moved around quite a bit. I was born in DC, then lived in Connecticut from ages 2-4, moved to London when I was 4 and then back to Connecticut at age 10. I always find the question about where you are from so funny because I have difficulty answering, it really depends on the time period in my life the question refers to. On that, I believe each move and experience in your life makes a deep impression on who you are and defines your growth. For me, the various moves and living internationally changed the course of my life in a significant way and brought me my love of travel, discovering destinations and finding a sense of “home” in multiple places.” 

    “I currently live in NYC, which I love but recently purchased an A-frame cabin upstate in Livingston Manor, so I split my time. I moved to NYC for 2 years after college and then moved to Los Angeles and then somehow found my way back. I suppose you can tell by the pattern of my moves that I have a bit of a short attention span when it comes to the places I live. Which is absolutely true. However, to lessen this desire to move every two years, I use NYC/upstate as my homebase and then travel and work remotely in different places to mix things up!” 

    “I started my career at a boutique PR firm based in NYC and untypically (for PR), I ended up staying for almost 4.5 years and opening their Los Angeles office. From that role, I moved on to become the Communications Manager for Soho House in North America helping to support new House launches both domestically and internationally, their e-commerce arm, Soho Home, and more. After 2.5 years, the pandemic came and myself, along with my entire team got furloughed, which given the times and the nature of hospitality, was not unexpected. It did, however, prompt me to take a look at my career and future personal goals, realizing that corporate was not for me, and that I dreamed of a life where I could work remotely and make a difference for brands at all stages.” 

    “The time and perspective that the pandemic gave all of us was crucial to my career journey as it led me to make these personal and career goals a reality. In May of 2020, I started my own creative agency, Caro., which stands for Creative Agency Representing Originals. Many people I spoke with thought it was a crazy move to leave my role and start during a time of such uncertainty. But something just felt so right, and for the first time, I didn’t listen the advice of those around me, I had a feeling and knew I needed to at least give it a shot. We have since grown from 1 person (me) to a team of 5 full-time staff members along with various collaborators in branding, graphics, copy and more. I am proud to say, we have worked with over 27 clients across hospitality, architecture, design and e-commerce. One of those clients, The Malin, is a gorgeous design-forward co-working space based in Soho where we did this shoot!” 

    “Starting Caro. was the best thing I’ve done in my career and has reconnected me with an innate love and motivation for working directly with the founders of businesses to help them make their goals and dreams a reality.” 

    “I have always loved jewelry. As the only girl in a family of boys, I really leaned into my feminine side from a young age. I have a distinct memory of being age four, living in London, my mom told me we were going to Windsor Castle that day to “see the Queen”. I came down the stairs head to toe in all the costume jewelry I could find and exclaimed that I was interested in trading some pieces with the Queen that day. Unfortunately, although she was there, we never met nor did we get to exchange jewels, which was probably a real pain for my mother as I insisted we stay all day until I could meet her.”

    “But in seriousness, jewelry has always marked special occasions in my family. One of the first real pieces I owned was a pair of ruby earrings from my grandparents. I received them as a birthday gift and ruby is my birthstone so there was something about the personalized aspect of the gift that only increased my love for them.” 

    “Later on in my life, on my 21st birthday, my mom gifted me a vintage Cartier ruby ring that she had found for me when I was a child. Although I did see her wearing it around from time to time herself, she kept the gift for me until my 21st birthday. It is a piece I wear every single day and never take off, it holds so much sentimental value and the journey it took to get to me only makes it more special.” 

    “I wear almost the same jewelry everyday minus earrings, which I mix between a few different pairs. I think earrings can be very expressive and really make an outfit or look so, I focus on finding fun pieces that I can switch out depending on what I am wearing. One of my favorite pairs are my MMDruck Teja HoopsThese amazing hoops are designed by a friend in LA, Molly Zimmerman. She makes such amazing, unique finds that really elevate every outfit. I have about 4 pairs of her earrings that I consistently switch between.” 

    “My collection is a mix of pieces I have received as a gift and bought for myself. I think when I buy something for myself it makes me feel accomplished, that I can invest in a piece of jewelry and build out my collection to share with future generations. On the other hand, receiving jewelry as a gift makes it feel highly personal and holds a different type of value to me, something more sentimental and meaningful.”

    “One of my first big jewelry investments that I bought for myself was my Van Cleef & Arpels Vintage Alhambra Pendant in Tiger’s EyeMy best friend, Charlotte, used to work at Van Cleef and was leaving to move back to Switzerland. I had decided to move forward with buying the pendant as a gift for myself to celebrate one year of being in business. Although that aspect of the gift makes it so special for me, it also reminds me of my friend, Charlotte, as she picked it up and gave it to me on one of her last days in the US. The tiger’s eye as a stone, specifically in this style is very different from anything else you see and makes the pendant special to me. It is a classic piece but with my own twist of uniqueness!”

    “The last jewelry gift I received was from my parents for my birthday last year. I was looking for an easy, everyday bracelet and the Mejuri Solo Diamond Bracelet perfectly fit the bill!”

    “I am mostly interested in minimal, fine jewelry, probably why I love Fewer Finer so much!”